‘Completely unreasonable’: GDC call on dental care professionals to pay ARF

Dental professionals are being called upon to pay their annual retention fee (ARF) by the General Dental CouncilDental professionals are being called upon to pay their annual retention fee (ARF) by the General Dental Council. 

As the annual renewal period opens up, UK registered dental care professionals are being asked to renew their registration.

Last month, the GDC confirmed it will not make changes to ARF payments in response in the COVID-19 crisis. Chair of the GDC, Dr William Moyes, said it was not a decision that was ‘taken lightly’.

Alongside paying their ARF, the GDC is also asking the profession to make their annual or end-of-cycle CPD statement.

Additionally, they should declare whether they have – or are set to have – the necessary and appropriate indemnity.

The deadline for completion is Friday 31 July 2020.

Feeling the pinch

Dentist Henrik Overgaard-Nielsen labelled the move ‘completely unreasonable’.

‘They want their money. They’re going to be flexible on the CPD requirements – but they want their money,’ he said.

‘This is very typical of the GDC. It’s been a problem for dentists for a long time – removing people from the register for being one day late paying. It is very clear the only thing they’re interested in is the finances.

‘It’s completely unreasonable when everybody has been so affected by the current situation. There will be a number of nurses who were either sent home, furloughed and who might face financial difficulties.

‘In these circumstances, the least the GDC could do is to be a bit flexible with the DCPs. They don’t tend to be high earners, and other family members could also be furloughed or even made redundant.

‘I’m sure there are nurses out there that are really feeling the pinch, and it’s not the nurses’ fault – they should have financial support like everybody else – and the GDC should be the first to offer it.’

Difficult time

GDC executive director, registration and corporate resources, Gurvinder Soomal, said: ‘We are very aware that Annual Renewal comes at a difficult time this year for DCPs. Many have been unable to work or have had difficulty accessing CPD.

‘Our records indicate that four out of five DCPs have already met the CPD requirement. But it is entirely possible that COVID-19 has prevented many DCPs from completing the required amount of CPD.

‘While an essential part of annual renewal is to make an annual or end-of-cycles CPD statement, we have been clear that if professionals have a shortfall of completed CPD hours due to COVID-19, they will not be penalised for this.

‘For anyone in this position, you still need to make the statement and we’ll then be in touch to talk about next steps.’

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